As the Christmas Season descends upon us, and the latest techno gadget is wrapped and laid beneath our trees, it is good to know that there is some real value to the IPad and touch screen world when it comes to disabled youth. The tactile properties and kinaesthetic value that these devices add to our teens and children are huge. There is much research out there on the huge impact screen time is having on our children, but there is also a lot to be said on the engagement of these devices for beneficial activities.
IPad seems to be leading the way in apps that can help the disabled. They actually have a section in the App Store for “special education” as these are becoming popular. There are two sites that list some apps that can be helpful in finding something that works for your child. Cost is always an issue, but sometimes it is just worth it if it sounds like a good fit for your child.
This site reviews a number of apps including: Stories2Learn, Social Skills, QuickCues, Hidden Curriculum For Kids, Everyday Social Skills, Model Me Going Places, Everyday Skills, and Living Safely. The cost of these apps run from $0-$49.99, with some only being $1.99. I have found some real value in having social stories for our son, so anything that helps is appreciated in the technology world.
This is a website that offers a quick burp on 40 different apps that you can buy and download from Apple. One is Crazy Face Lite which encourages shy students to speak more often, and is great with students who have trouble speaking. It runs about $2.99. Another one is Model Me Going Places which is a visual teaching tool. It is free and can help your child navigate challenging locations with appropriate behavior.
Isus Laptop Touchscreen
We recently purchased a touch screen laptop for Alexander. It is an Isus model and runs Windows 8.1. Alexander uses it for school work and we learned how to type on it this summer. I think it is the kinesics properties that makes this his preferred computer, except for the IPad, now. He has typed some school reports and assignments on it and it is our hope that he will use it more through high school.
I have an older model IPad that is very popular with Alexander. If he has access to the IPad, often he is contented for an hour at a time. The time on-line is regulated, but he enjoys the touch screen. I would like a newer IPad, if only to get the camera feature and my own pad back.
I think using the different learning models of visual, auditory and kinetics appeals to all learning disabled children. There are some youth that learn better in a certain area than in the traditional methods that are taught in our schools. It is through the use of technology that we can unlock each child’s potential.
So as I wrap my last Christmas gift tonight, I am reminded that all the new technology games that will be unwrapped tomorrow in our households across this country may in fact unlock a hidden potential in some children. Disabled or not, screen time can have a benefit for our youth. Merry Christmas to your family from ours during this holiday season.